UPDATED: Shuffle Magazine presents: Tar Heel Tracks
Fair warning: this post will likely make you consider heading back to college. Pierce Freelon, a charismatic MC that fronts jazz-infused Durham hip-hop outfit The Beast, and Stephen Levitin, who makes intellectually stimulating beats as Apple Juice Kid, have been teaching a class together this semester at UNC-Chapel Hill. The class teaches students sample-based music production, history and entrepreneurship. For their final projects, each student had to produce a beat with the results to be rounded up onto a free, downloadable compilation. And as Freelon and Levitin are proud members of the N.C. music community, they decided to have their kids use music from the Tar Heel State in their compositions.
Pretty cool, right? We here at Shuffle sure thought so. That’s why we are proud to present Tar Heel Tracks, the first compilation from the UNC Beat Making Lab. The album will be released in cooperation with ARTVSM, a joint venture by Freelon and Levitin that strives to merge art and activism. The 13 cuts sample a wide swath of N.C. music — from The Avett Brothers to Yahzarah, from Lee Fields to Lost in the Trees. The free album drops on May 13, commencement day at UNC. Below you can check out and download “It Doesn’t Hurt a Bit,” a cut from Tar Heel Tracks produced by Sup Doodle. The track samples “Fight/Flight” by Durham’s I Was Totally Destroying It.
The professors’ ambition doesn’t stop there. This summer, Freelon and Levitin plan to bring their Beat Making Lab to the Congo. They are partnering with Yolé!Africa, a non-profit organization set up to bring arts education to the area, in an attempt replicate the class with native youths. Funds are currently being raised for the expedition. You can find out more about their campaign and donate here. –Jordan Lawrence
UPDATE: Tar Heel Tracks is now available to download. Click here for a free digital copy, or look below to stream the compilation in its entirety.